Call to ActionRemember when you were a teen and your mom told you to clean up your room, call your grandmother, and set the table all within the same five minutes.

Remember how frustrating that was. How even if you wanted to do what your mom wished—not every teen’s desire, for sure—you couldn’t do three things at once. So instead, most of the time, you did nothing!

I was thrown back there this morning when I uncovered this card I had picked up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met). Just count the calls to action featured on this small postcard:

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Nancy Schwartz on March 8, 2017 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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nonprofit messenger

Flickr: Chip Griffin

The pressure is on to connect and mobilize your people as the world in which we work grows increasingly complex, crowded, and uncertain. Why not recruit folks already connected with your organization to help as marketing and fundraising ambassadors?

Your colleagues, board members, volunteers, and loyal donors have tremendous potential to strengthen relationships, drive participation, and raise money IF you launch this six-step training program:

1) Share a clear call to action
Get super-specific when you ask people to step up as organizational messengers. Break your request down into small, doable steps. For example, request they “email your five closest friends or family members to ask them to support our organization during this first-time matching gift campaign” or to “discuss your passion for our organization with friends next time you go on a walk or out for dinner, sharing email addresses for those wanting to know more with me at me@ourorganization.org.”

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Nancy Schwartz on January 24, 2017 in All-Org Marketing Team | 0 comments

Set Your Marketing Goals

This practical, doable marketing plan template takes you from goals to benchmarks, work plan, action, and impact! 

Eeesh! Those New Year’s resolutions—including the ones we set for marketing and fundraising work—are so hard to keep.

That’s because most resolutions are action items, rather than goals (the real “what we want to get to”). When things in our work worlds change—making those actions irrelevant or too difficult, or throwing them into question or making them too difficult— there’s no clear framework for assessment and adaptation. So the resolutions fade out, leaving you disappointed.

INSTEAD…

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Nancy Schwartz on January 10, 2017 in Planning and Evaluation | 0 comments
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Happy Healthy Nonprofit Book CoverGuest bloggers Beth Kanter & Aliza Sherman wrote The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit, a must read for communicators & fundraisers.

If there is one thing we can agree on, it is that that last quarter of 2016 was especially stressful. Not just the usual hectic workload of year-end campaigns, but a difficult election season—a combination that has left many nonprofit communications professional feeling overwhelmed and

For many of us, the holiday vacation time probably did not come fast enough. We all probably enjoyed a nice reprieve from deadlines, tasks, and deliverables. And, after taking a break, it is hard to get back into the swing of things.

One thing we do know for sure, 2017 will be the year that we will absolutely have to exercise our resilience muscles in order to do our best work and not get slowed down. In our book, The Happy Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact Without Burnout, we discuss ways that nonprofit professionals can use at work and avoid the stress of competing priorities. Here are three techniques to put to work right now:

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Guest Blogger on January 4, 2017 in Professional Development | 0 comments
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The clock is running out on year-end fundraising.

Whether you’re exceeding expectations or are barely meeting the bare minimum, you can do even better. I know what you’re thinking: “There’s so little time.” But I want to share five doable adjustments you can make right now to increase year-end donations.

1) Expand your prospect pool program participants, volunteers, and advocates (Low-hanging fruit alert!).

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Nancy Schwartz on December 27, 2016 in Fundraising: Innovations & Research | 0 comments
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Consistent MessagesWhether you’re all in on year-end fundraising or working in some 2017 prep, I bet you have some pretty ambitious goals to meet. You wouldn’t be reading this otherwise.

Here’s a proven but frequently overlooked method to help you get there: consistent communications. Consistency enables your people and prospects to recognize your organization’s communications in a flash. Time and time again, I’ve seen consistency across channels, programs and services, and audiences help nonprofits like yours motivate the actions they need. Those are the same messages likely to be remembered and repeated. Here’s how to get there:

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Nancy Schwartz on December 14, 2016 in Branding and Messages | 1 comment
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We all have an incredible marketing resource right in front of us—our board member, colleague, and loyal volunteer ambassadors. But most of us look right past them, much less make it appealing or easy for them to participate and succeed!

You still have time to launch your team of messengers to spur right now campaigns, registration, and giving. They’re already fans, so many of them will be eager and effective fundraisers. Here’s how to ask for participation, train and support your messengers, and thank them.

Your ambassadors’ reach, engagement, and donation impact is directly related to saying the right thing at the right time. The trick is.. it can’t be a script, repeated from everyone to everyone. That’s just not genuine or relevant.

Provide these three message tools to your ambassadors, and you’re golden. They’ll ensure your team’s comfort and confidence, which means they’re more likely to talk with more donors and prospects. These tools also increase the odds prospects hear the kind of consistent yet personal messages necessary to spur engagement and the actions you want!

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Nancy Schwartz on December 6, 2016 in All-Org Marketing Team | 2 comments
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2017 Nonprofit Communications Trends

Kivi Leroux Miller’s annual Nonprofit Communications Trends Report is one of my “go to” resources for boosting client communications impact. The report provides concrete benchmarks for your marketing, fresh ideas to experiment with, and the proof points you need to lobby for the resources and support you need to do communications right.

Please take 10 minutes right now to respond to the 2017 Nonprofit Communications Trends Survey. Deadline is tomorrow, December 2! Every survey taker will receive a free copy of the report in January and be invited to a preview webinar before the results are released.

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Nancy Schwartz on December 1, 2016 in Planning and Evaluation | 0 comments
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#GivingTuesdayIt’s #GivingTuesday 2016, the best day to do vital prep work for #GivingTuesday 2017.

Whether your organization is a passionate participant or still weighing joining the movement, you have lots to learn from watching colleague and competitive organizations execute their #GivingTuesday campaigns. Even if you decide to stay on the sidelines—maintaining focus on year-end—you’ll know what your prospects are seeing post-Thanksgiving each year so that you can shape your campaign accordingly.

Take these three steps now, concentrating on other organizations that your donors support and those in your cause or programmatic arena:

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Nancy Schwartz on November 29, 2016 in Fundraising: Innovations & Research | 0 comments
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Relevant MessagesThis morning’s election news dug into the divide that’s fracturing the U.S. Hearing the stats on how deep and broad these divisions are—rural vs. urban, men vs. women, those with post-secondary education vs. those without—wasn’t surprising. But it was distressing, especially as I contemplate where we go from here.

So many organizations have ignored the chaos we’ve lived in during this extended election ramp up. In sharp contrast, StoryCorps has communicated with non-partisan honesty and heart:

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Nancy Schwartz on November 8, 2016 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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